CheriSHEd Ladies, we’d like to introduce you to our Guest Blogger for February. Her name is Sue Bergsieker and she’s one of the newest members of our church. She and her husband Ricky moved to Texas from Minnesota. Her blog shares her experiences with you of moving, not just to a new place, but a new state…far from where she’s from. Hope you enjoy her blog!!
It’s been a long journey from Owatonna, Minnesota to Lubbock, Texas. Since arriving just over three months ago, I’ve been asked a number of times, “So, how do you like Lubbock?” At first, I didn’t know what to say. I was homesick. It was November, and the chances of having my beloved white Christmas were slim. Lubbock was about seven times the size of my hometown. I didn’t know where anything was – even a trip to the grocery store or the local McDonald’s required a visit to Google maps. I had no friends, no family, no job and no church. Truthfully, I wanted to answer, “I don’t.” But I plastered a smile on my face and tried to come up with something positive to say about my new home. Through it all, I spent a lot of time talking with God. And He has been so good. Even months before I made the move, He was at work, revealing His faithful care to me and my husband. Teaching me about trust. Preparing my heart. And because He’s literally removed every distraction in my life, I’ve been able to tune into His still, small voice in a way I never have before. I’ve clung to one of my favorite verses: “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” (Ps 46:10) It’s helped me focus; and with a new focus, I’ve learned a number of things.
Discovery #1: The people sure are friendly!
It has been so refreshing to come to a place where it seems everyone has a smile for you. No matter where I’ve gone, I’ve found engaging people who are willing to give more than a simple “fine” when asked how they’re doing. I’ve heard it said that folks in the south are friendlier, and I’ve found it to be true. Of course, they don’t spend seven months of the year trapped inside their homes while the snow flies and the wind howls and the temperatures plummet. That climate tends to stunt the conversation skills of even the most flamboyant extroverts.
Discovery #2: Jesus is real to folks, and they aren’t afraid to talk about him.
The Spirit of God is moving in Lubbock. I’ve sensed it powerfully since arriving. In almost every place I’ve visited I’ve encountered someone who makes a reference to either knowing Jesus or being blessed by Him. People wear T-shirts proclaiming their faith; I’ve seen bumper stickers galore promoting Christian education, various gospel churches and clever faith sayings. It’s refreshing. It feels safe to be a person of faith. And that has not been my experience living in the north. I didn’t even realize how unfriendly the environment is to conservative thinkers until I left Minnesota. God’s people have to fight for every inch of ground there. The battle is very real.
Discovery #3: God is my provider, my comfort, my friend.
I have always known these things about God, but now I am starting to experience them in a way I never have. God has provided everything my husband and I need – on about half the income we’re accustomed to. It’s an amazing and humbling place to be. And I’ve never known the kind of peace and contentment I’m presently experiencing. As my Comforter, He wraps me in His arms and whispers promises that are for me alone. We have these sweet intimate talks, God and I, and it fills a longing that I can barely express in words. He is my Friend. We laugh together, cry together, go deep in conversation together, and I find I’m not nearly as desperate for those three-hour lunch dates with a dear girlfriend from back home. In that way, He has satisfied my need. At least until I can build a new circle of friends, or get back home to visit the ones I left.
Discovery #4: God has deepened my relationships with the people I miss.
I took them for granted, those friends and family members. I would go for long periods without connecting, because I knew they’d be there when I wanted to chat. Now, I treasure each text, each phone conversation, each Facebook message, each email. We talk about the important stuff. And we don’t leave things unsaid. We speak truth and we express what we really think and feel. And isn’t that what we’re called to do anyway? It took a journey of 1,100 miles to get me to see that. And I embrace the realization!
Discovery #5: I’m not in Minnesota anymore, Toto.
West Texas is flat. It doesn’t get too cold here. It hardly snows. And when it does, the town pretty much shuts down. Everyone has a pickup or knows someone with a pickup. Cowboy boots, cowboy hats and Wrangler jeans will forever be in style. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. It’s important to know the difference between “y’all” and “all y’all” in polite conversation. And it would be good for me to invest in a Texas Tech sports jersey if I have any hope of fitting in. (I’m also working to drop that Minnesota accent I’ve been accused of having.)
That’s a lot to learn in a few months. God is stretching me, and I have been intentional about pressing into what He wants me to experience with Him. It’s been an interesting, painful, enlightening and fun journey. And I think I’m starting to feel at home.